Evolution Controllers, makers of the new Drone controller, want to be the game controller you use for all of your mobile video game needs. Their smart controller are designed for the mobile gamer in mind.
I had the chance to catch-up with one of the co-founders, Mathew Hefferon, to learn more about their product and their recently launched Kickstarter campaign.
What is Drone and why did you start it?
If you’re like me, you love playing games on our smart device. The only problem is as games keep getting more immersive the on screen touch buttons and virtual joysticks get in the way of gameplay and don’t give you that physical tactile control you need. So we created the Drone, a portable open source game controller you can use with your smartphone, tablet, PC etc.
I was working in the software industry but really wanted to create a hardware product. Something tangible, something someone could use and hold. I had been thinking of product idea’s and just wanted to build something people would love. People love to play games and the mobile industry is growing like crazy. It’s an awesome industry and I wanted to be apart of it and create an awesome product for it.
Tell us about your team and is this your first hardware product?
I have an awesome team. Ren Livingston is my co-founder who has prior experience bringing a product to market. James Wall is a Electrical designer and software engineer. Even Chen is our manufacture in Shenzhen.
This is my my first hardware product and what an undertaking. PCB, firmware, tooling, regulatory testing, manufacturing. There has been many sleepless nights but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I love what I’m doing.
How long have you been working on this product?
I founded the company January 2012 and been working on this product ever since. We spent a little over a year in development and then manufactured beta units. We had great feedback from from our customers and have incorporated that feedback and now working on raising capital to complete our first production retail product run. We are live on Kickstarter and we’re blown away with how well the campaign is going.
We had no idea what to expect when we put the product up on Kickstarter. We are humbled by how positive the response has been. We definitely need the community help us make this product a reality.
What are the three biggest lessons you have learned so far?
1. Believe in your dreams and never give up.
You fail before you succeed. I’ve been run over, chewed up and spit out. Believe in yourself, work hard and focus on making the best product you can.
2. Bringing a hardware product to market isn’t easy
I was working on many software projects and thought it would be easy to jump into making hardware products. I quickly learned the opposite and learned hardware startups have many obstacles and challenges involved.
3. Focus on making a quality product and get user feedback early.
This lesson saved us. We started the project making a quality game controller but a focus on emulators. It had one joystick and no triggers. When shared with the community we quickly found out that they wanted a full button layout. They helped mold the Drone into a better product and a product more people wanted.